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Look At Corbin Carroll Go!

4:44 PM EDT on June 22, 2023

MILWAUKEE, WI - JUNE 20: Corbin Carroll #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks rounds second base in the first inning during the game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Milwaukee Brewers at American Family Field on Tuesday, June 20, 2023 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Thanks to my indecision and poor depth perception, I would be a pretty bad third-base coach. Mostly I would be resentful of the first-base coach and how low-stakes his work is relative to mine, and I would be fired for complaining about this if I hadn't already been fired for being bad at my job. He gets to hold some gloves while I do physics in my head in one second? This is an outrage! Are we getting paid the same? I would be an extremely bad third base coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks for the reasons listed above, and also because I would eschew the physics and give 22-year-old rookie outfielder Corbin Carroll the windmill every time. I would send him home while the ball is in the pitcher's hand. I would send him home when he is headed to first after taking ball four and can't even see me. I would send him home while he is playing center field and I am sitting in the dugout because the other team is batting. And would I be so wrong for wanting to see him zoom?

This afternoon, early in a game against the Nats, Carroll was taking a short lead off of first when his teammate Christian Walker hit an unremarkable ground ball single up the middle. The next part was the remarkable part: Carroll decided to take third on the play, and the frazzled center fielder bobbled the ball for just long enough that Carroll scored handily.

There is nothing quite so fun as the player who can bring about an opponent's team-wide mental collapse with their speed, and it's a regular occurrence for Carroll, one of the fastest players in baseball, with a top sprint speed in the 99th percentile. The skill is often tragically wasted on guys who never get on base enough to show it off, but Carroll has been hitting well enough to be a 5-foot-10 hellion on the basepaths and, while he's at it, an MVP candidate; he's batting around .300 and his .962 OPS leads the National League. (His 21 stolen bases are second in the NL, behind Ronald Acuña Jr.'s 31.) He stole Trea Turner's powers! By FanGraphs's baserunning metric, no MLB player has been worth more. By my makes-me-smile metric, no MLB player has been worth more. If there's any cause for concern with young Corbin Carroll, it's that he's so fast and so determined that he might one day pass the runner in front of him and be called out. If I were his third-base coach, I would simply keep waving my arm like a maniac while he did so.

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